With the NBA being a couple of weeks into free agency, the majority of the big name free agents have already been signed. Because of this, now is about as good of a time as ever to take a look at the Memphis Grizzlies’ free agency acquisitions, partially because it’s unknown if the team will have many more signings as of now.
The Grizzlies didn’t sign too many new players besides one veteran, but what they did do was resign two people that had important roles in last season’s tough uphill battle. This article will grade the quality of the signings, as well as give a prediction on the role they will play on the team next season.
This signing was a little surprising. While the Grizzlies didn’t have many shooters before signing Carter, they already had what will likely be three shooting guards on the roster between Courtney Lee, Tony Allen, and their first round draft pick Jordan Adams.
However, in hindsight, signing Carter was a smart move for the team. Although Carter is way past his super-athletic, multi-time All Star days, he still has a few assets to bring to the Grizzlies. Despite the fact that Carter only made slightly above 40% of his shots last year, he had his best year shooting beyond the arc, making 39.4% of those shots. Memphis needed someone who is able to score three-point shots consistently, and while Carter doesn’t exactly shoot like a sharpshooter does, he still has a better shot than pretty much the rest of the team.
Carter isn’t going to be getting as much time as he did when he was an All Star. The 36-year-old has lost a lot of his skill over time, but he still may have something to provide to the Grizzies in short spurts off of the bench. His signing helps deepens the Grizzlies’ bench, and he should see some time on the court at either the shooting guard or small forward positions.
Udrih was brought into the Grizzlies’ roster late into last season to help add some depth to the Grizzlies, who were still in the midst of dealing with injuries to some of their top players. However, he did much more than that, contributing to the team as a shooter. He provided the depth that the Grizzlies needed late into the season, helping them make a late run at the playoffs.
Having Udrih back next season will help the team give Conley some rest on the bench. Besides Jamaal Franklin, Conley was the only true point guard on the team until Udrih came along. However, despite his strong play for a few important games, it is hard to feel fully satisfied with Udrih’s signing when there were many other point guards around in free agency. Udrih hasn’t been known to be the best of players in the past, so it is very possible that his play last season was a spur-of-the-moment type of play.
Expect Udrih to fill a similar role as he did last year, coming off the bench to help the team score a few points while Conley rests. He won’t get a ton of playing time, especially since the team is stacked with guards as a whole as is, but the time he gets should be put to good use. However, one can’t be helped wondering a little bit who else the team could of signed instead of Udrih.
Randolph was one of, if not the best, power forward that was going to hit the free agent market this offseason. Although he had one year left on his previous contract with the Grizzlies, there were rumors he was going to opt out of this last year to become a free agent and go to another team. However, these rumors proved to be untrue, as Randolph would restructure his contract to stay in Memphis for a few more years.
As the team’s best scorer, Randolph was pretty much was the only reason the Grizzlies weren’t the absolute worst team on offense last season. His ability to score close to the basket proved to be very valuable more than just a few times. Randolph isn’t a great defender, but with some of the best defenders in the league around him, this flaw in his play doesn’t really become an issue often.
Similar to the addition of Udrih, this signing probably won’t elevate the team above the levels they were at last season, but it was a necessary move in order to keep the Grizzlies in contention in their very tough division and conference. Thankfully, instead of losing their best tool on offense, the Grizzlies can rest easy knowing he will be playing the rest of his prime in Memphis.